Council fights legal battle with Traveller couple over housing site
Clare County Council has brought High Court proceedings against a Traveller couple over a site earmarked for new social housing units.
The action is against Bernard and Helen McDonagh who claim they have a tenancy at a site at Ashline, Kilrush Road, Ennis, onto which they moved their caravans in November 24, 2017, before relocating to another site in the locality.
Ashline consisted of six dwelling units owned by the council which were specifically used to accommodate Traveller families.
Following a series of arson attacks, it remained vacant for several years and the council had planned to build 40 new social housing units at the site.
In its action, the council seeks various orders against the McDonaghs including one granting it possession of lands and a permanent injunction preventing them from moving their caravans and vehicles onto the site.
The McDonaghs oppose the action.
In a counter claim, they say the site, which had been their family home for many years before they had to vacate it in 2012, is the subject of an existing tenancy agreement between them and the council.
They claim the tenancy agreement was wrongfully breached by the council.
The council says the McDonaghs unlawfully moved their caravans onto on the Ashline site in 2017, after heavy machinery removed bollards preventing access to the property.
They left after it was damaged in arson attacks.
The site was unsafe to live at and uninsurable due to the damage sustained following the arson attacks, the council said.
The defendants moved on from the site to different locations in the Ennis area after the council brought High Court proceedings against the McDonaghs, it said.
The hearing continues before Mr Justice Senan Allen.